Photography Leonard Fäustle
Wakeboarding on the canals of Amsterdam. How this is possible Mik Nieuwenhoff, one of the finalists of the competition during the Dutch Water Week, tells. He has been wakeboarding for almost 12 years now, but being on the canals of Amsterdam remains a special occasion.
“In Amsterdam they (Exventure, ed.) have set up a small cable park for this competition, a winch track, which makes it possible to wakeboard in locations where this would normally not be possible.” Mik himself is of the wakeboarding variety on the cable park, although wakeboarding originally took place behind a boat, of course. “In time they built cable parks, this also made the sport more accessible to the less wealthy because you no longer needed a boat.”
Cable park put to the test
A development that went so far that on the Amsterdam canal a course could therefore also be laid down for a competition. “It was really an enjoyable day. Although the cableway was put to the test by the strong men and the wind. But there was a nice turnout, there was even someone from the Philippines participating who happened to be in the area, so you can speak of an international field.”
The strong winds, and the rain, did create some challenges for the judges. There were two obstacles in the water for the wakeboarders to do their tricks on. But the wind caused one of those obstacles to be blown over, leaving the judges with only one ramp to judge. They allowed the competition to continue, creating a lopsided distribution of points.
Mik: “In the end they decided to divide the prize money over all 8 finalists and got some beers for the wakeboarders and the organization for part of the prize money. I thought that was a nice decision, especially a compliment for the guys who had done all the construction, they deserved a beer.”
No prevailing competitive spirit
The atmosphere at wakeboarding is good, but that is no exception in this sport, Mik says. “In a competition you are of course opponents of each other, but in such a competition it doesn’t actually feel that way. I’m sometimes cheering harder for someone else when they make a good landing after a trick, than for myself. Everyone wishes each other a 100%, that’s the fun of this sport. And at this location in the basin near the Maritime Museum you really have the perfect grandstand.”
The fact that in the end all the finalists won a little bit also fits in perfectly with the culture of wakeboarding. “There is never really a prevailing competitive spirit. It’s also a small world here in the Netherlands, two years ago there were about 1.500 active wakeboarders, but there is also quite a lot of turnover, so the number fluctuates regularly.”